First Grow – Part 6

My three remaining cannabis plants are one week into the flowering cycle. There has been a significant burst of growth in just 6 days.

 
That “odd” plant, the only female I sprouted from a seed, was not looking like cannabis up to now. After I changed the light cycle to flower mode (12 hours light / 12 hours dark) and added potassium rich nutrients to the water all three plants visibly changed. The fresh growth on all three plants is densely packed and a more vibrant green. I was relieved to see the new growth on the “oddling” was looking more like a cannabis plant and seems to have the classic Indica leaf shape, color and size.
 


 

The flowers have definitely started to form on all three plants. The nutrient change to a Potassium rich formula combined with the 12/12 light/dark cycle has kicked all three cannabis plants into flowering mode as advertised. The fertilizer I’m using was part of a box of nutrients I won at the 420 Celebration Party. As you can see, the Potassium number is pretty high. The three numbers on the fertilizer represent the value of the three macro-nutrients used by plants. These macro-nutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) or NPK for short. I add about a tablespoon nutrient to a gallon of water which lasts about three days of watering.

 
I must be very careful not to let any light into the box now during the darkness phase. I only open the the doors in the morning when the lights are on in the grow box. I quickly take my photos, check the green babies for pests (so far so good… knocking on wood), give them their water and close up the box another for 24 hours.

little cannabis bush
Cannabis Clone – day 66

…more to come…

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First Grow – part 5

Flowering time is approaching… time to tighten up the box.

Step 1… Add weather stripping to any visible light leaks. Step 2… Duct tape and cover the air intake with fabric for a filter and light mask. Step 3… Install wireless humidity and temperature sensor.

I purchased a unit called SensorPush to monitor the environment inside the grow box. There is no power cord and it appears fairly weatherproof. This device links wirelessly to your phone and works with the free SensorPush app. This tiny piece of tech (about the size of a book of matches) is able to track humidity and temperature and send the data to your phone. (you can see it in the image above) I am loving this useful tool and recommend it to anyone with a grow system. learn more at: www.sensorpush.com

I am very concerned with light burn. I have been raising the LED lights as best I can, but I am reaching the top of the box. I found a low profile power cord on the LED fixture to give me an additional inch. I am also considering cutting a hole the size and shape of the LED box so I can raise it flush to the “ceiling” of the grow box, but I’ll probably wait until the next grow.

Up to now, the only real fertilizer I have been using is a single light handed “shot” of Miracle Grow” a week after I put them in the box and a daily watering with tea colored “swamp water” that flows nearby. Using the stream water probably increases my chances for a pest infestation, but that is potential failure I’m willing to learn from. You’ll remember I added worm casings to an already nutrient rich soil I purchased at the Grow Store when I first transplanted the seedlings into the larger pots. I will switch to a more Potassium rich fertilizer during the flowering stage.

After spending way too much time on-line researching cannabis horticulture, I feel I need to “science the shit” outa my next indoor growing scenario. I will admit to “winging it” through much of this grow process. Up to now, my motivation for this first grow has been the free clones and the recent legalization of cannabis. With the flowering stage starting, the excitement level has definitely inched up a notch.

…more to come…

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First Grow – Part 4

It has been 30 days since I activated the grow box.

The clones were acquired 37 days ago and the seeds were started 69 days ago. The clones and seedlings were somewhat mishandled as we were moving them around too much trying keeping them hidden from the landlord. The apartment may also have been too cold at times. Of the four seeds that we successfully germinated, three were males. All three have been removed from the box and have started new lives in the wild.

The two clones are leafing out quite well with all the typical growth, color and structure that is expected. I am very happy with the results so far.

That remaining seeding was started from a pile of random seeds I found in my desk. The plant is growing quite well but it looks much different than the other two in many ways.

The leaves are very glossy, somewhat “rumpled” and a very deep green. Additionally, the shape of the leaf clusters is not uniform and doesn’t even look like weed. There are many marijuana like flowers, however and it does have a very strong “ganja” smell.

tiny female flower

The plan is to induce flowering in a week or two. Before I can do that, I will need to seal up all “light leaks” in the growbox. Any light that gets into the box as they are being forced to flower will disrupt the process. I plan to buy some weather stripping and duct tape to block any invading light before I start the flowering process.

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First Grow – Part 3

Its been about a month in the grow box and things are definitely growing. All the plants are leafing out very nicely, however, upon closer inspection, I noticed some flowers on two of the plants. I whipped out my magnifying glass and examined them very closely.

Yup, it appears that these two plants are males.

Upon discovering the two male plants, I pulled them out of the box and transplanted them outside. We do not want any unauthorized pollination going on in the grow box. As you probably know, if you want seedless flowers, you’ve got to keep the male plants away and take steps to ensure no pollen gets on your stigma.

The remaining four plants are healthy and seem to be females. On two of the remaining plants I can see clear evidence of tiny female flower parts.

Meanwhile, a pair of male plants are enjoying their new life outside in the wild.

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First Grow – Part 2

Shortly after setting the plants in, I went back to the grow store and purchased 6 square pots, soil and earthworm casings. I could have saved a few bucks and gone to the big box garden store but I wanted to throw my cash at this store to support this new and growing industry. Additionally, I find the staff really know about growing cannabis and were quick to answer my many newbie questions. I didn’t go overboard on the nutrients for my first grow. I felt the soil mix I put together would get them through at the start.

Four of these plants were started from “random” seeds I had lying around. The other two are clones I received at the 420 celebration in Natick. I failed to take care of the seedlings at the very start by constantly moving and hiding them, completely messing up their “light cycle”. In fact, 3 of the plants started to bud out. I nipped the buds off and hoped for the best.

At first I don’t believe I watered the little ones enough. I was so certain that I would drown the seedlings that I was way too stingy with the water. Then I picked up the pots and realized just how light they were and I then started to soak them good. It seemed to pay off as growth accelerated in only 2 days.

There’s a lot to be said about reading instructions… I figured out I had set the lighting incorrectly. For nearly a week the LED lights were on 24 hours a day. Not what I wanted. I was going for 18 – 6 for the light/dark phases. I fixed my error and it seems the plants are back on track.

I’ve enjoyed the growing experience so far. I’ve got so much to learn and a long way to go, but I’m hooked now. I just hope I can see this through successfully as there are so many challenges ahead: pests, fertilizer, flowering, harvesting, curing… I will keep these post going so that you may follow my progress… I am open to suggestions, questions and encouragement!

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My First Grow – Part 1, the Grow Box.

Yup, I’m taking the plunge.

After the 420 Independence Party in Natick last week, I was motivated to make a grow box happen. A combination of a nutrient raffle prize and the gift of two cannabis clones, I felt it was time to start growing.

I had hoarded a cabinet last century that has been sitting in the basement waiting for this opportunity. At 3 feet by 2 feet and 3 feet tall, it was going to be a smaller grow box but I feel it will be enough to “get my feet wet”. The first 2 steps: paint the inside and buy the gear to get this grow box built.

The inside (and outside) of the cabinet is a black laminate. I used a can of Kilz white to mask over the black then I followed up with a coat of ceiling white. I felt that a flat white paint would be the easiest to apply and good for an even reflection of the grow light.

The next step was to visit my local grow store. I am lucky to have a great grow store the next town over from me. HTG Supply is one of the fastest growing indoor gardening suppliers in the United States with over 16 stores, mostly in the East. These are no-nonsense grow shops with all you would ever need to grow weed. I made the decision to go with soil over hydroponics. HTG Supply has all the stuff for both types of growing.

Here’s the list of all the stuff I bought from the grow store:

  • LED Light – 7 Band 2.1 “2 Pod”
  • 4″ GrowBright High Velocity Inline Fan
  • Growbright 4″ Carbon Filter
  • 120V Dual outlet timer
  • 4″ Metal Bracket Flange

When I was out, I picked up a 4″ rubber duct connector, a thin rear dryer duct and a 4″ hole saw. The wood I was cutting was a very dense particle board. I got the wrong type of hole cutter yet I persisted and bored 2 holes in the cabinet. The inlet will be at the bottom and the outlet will be the hole at the top, assisted with the fan. I hope placing the holes apart as I have will maximize the airflow.

Now it was time to mount the fan. I paid extra care here and mounted the unit super secure. When I cut the holes in the box, I made sure there was enough clearance to fit the motor/fan assembly.

On the outside of the box I mounted a “triple” outlet I had lying around and pushed it inside a hole I drilled through. A glob of hot glue and some adhesive pads and the plug is secure. I added a vent flourish for the exhaust hole because it was cheap and it looked cool. On the other side of the plug, on the inside, I plugged in the timer. Now it was time to mount the LED light bank.

The LED lights are in an easy to handle box assembly. It features convenient tabs to clip a hanging cable. I drilled 4 holes in the top of the unit, pulled the mounting cables through and clipped them together. Couldn’t have been easier. I can raise and lower the LED light box by adjusting the cables from the top of the grow box.

I added the carbon filter to the inline fan using the rubber connector. I made a support bracket from some aluminum I had bent around the filter and mounted to the inside top of the grow box. The inside was shaping up. I used some duct tape to work on some of the “light leaks”, especially around the intake venting. I will tighten up the rest as I see them.

It was time to bring the green children to their new home…

…to be continued.